Temporary fillings falling out: new dentist needed?
June 9, 2021 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I recently moved to a new town. A section of one of my upper molars fell out last week. I went to the first dentist that had an appointment the next day. They took a cast, and we made an appointment to have an inlay fitted a few weeks from now. In the meantime, they put in a temporary filling. A few hours later, the temporary filling fell out. I went back the next day and a different dentist put a new one in. Flash forward a week, and the second temporary filling just fell out.

I don't have any experience with this, so I need some insight. Is it normal for temporary fillings to fall out this often? Or is it a mark of bad workmanship, and a sign that I should find a new dentist?
posted by ectopus to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When my dentist put a temporary filling in she anticipated it might fall out. "If it falls out, call us and we'll just redo it so you have that filling until you get the permanent." It seemed very casual, that it wouldn't be a surprise for that to happen. It did end up falling out the day before my permanent appointment. IDK about twice, but at least once was extremely routine.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:13 PM on June 9

Unfortunately it is very common for temporary fillings or crowns to fall out. This probably isn’t related to your dentist’s skill so not something a new dentist could fix. You can get over the counter kits if you can’t make it back to the dentist immediately.
posted by scantee at 4:33 AM on June 10

From conversation with my dentist during The Year I Had So Many Crowns Done, my sense is that it's pretty common in general. I recall with one particular situation there was something specific about the size/position of that filling that made her tell me that one in particular might be more likely to come out.

She did warn me not to try to jam it back in there with superglue which I guess is a thing people try. So uh, if you didn't get that warning, don't superglue your teeth.
posted by Stacey at 6:08 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

They're called temporary for a reason. they've got to be easy to remove again when the permanent restoration is placed, and the material that holds them in has to be easy to remove as well.
for an inlay you should be able to just get some temp material at the pharmacy that you can place yourself and it should suffice.
posted by OHenryPacey at 7:19 AM on June 10

Preps for lab-fabricated inlays cannot have undercuts so any provisional (i.e. "temporary") placed with a provisional cement is going to be prone to dislodging. It's annoying for both the patient and dentist, but it's just how it is sometimes. It doesn't necessarily reflect a lack of skill or quality.
posted by drstrangelove at 8:36 AM on June 10

Temporary fillings are made of softer materials that can deform more easily. They rarely last more than 4 weeks. There is minimal prep of the surface involved, as the dentist should have a more permanent one ready by the time you lose the temporary.

How long they last also depends on your body chemistry, overall mouth health, types of food you eat, and if you tongue the filling a lot.

MAYBE try NOT to chew with the side of the teeth with the temp filling, and keep your tongue away from it.

It's PROBABLY not the skill of the dentist, in this case.
posted by kschang at 1:07 PM on June 10

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